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#1 | Back to Top03-05-2015 11:11:21 AM

Atropos
Atropos Turretslayer
From: Far beyond eternity
Registered: 10-22-2011
Posts: 896

Should we enjoy works created by the morally unsound?

[Yashanote: This grew from a recommendation of Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover series]

I'm hesitant to check out MZB, as it's recently come out that not only was she married to a child molester, she allegedly molested her own daughter and then said that "Children don't have erogenous zones" or something like that, as if that made it okay.

Last edited by Yasha (03-06-2015 10:34:08 PM)


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#2 | Back to Top03-05-2015 09:49:37 PM

Kita-Ysabell
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Registered: 11-18-2012
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Re: Should we enjoy works created by the morally unsound?

Atropos wrote:

I'm hesitant to check out MZB, as it's recently come out that not only was she married to a child molester, she allegedly molested her own daughter and then said that "Children don't have erogenous zones" or something like that, as if that made it okay.

Yeah, I just found out about that.

Personally, I'm of the camp that… the idea that we have some sort of progressive "culture heroes" and hold them to a higher standard of behavior than everyone else is ridiculous.  Plenty of other authors have done and said plenty of sketchy or downright awful things, but that isn't the first thing everyone thinks of when their work comes up.

By all means, condemn the behavior.  Be cautious about the representation of children's sexuality or lack thereof in her work.  But I don't think it helps anything to bury her work entirely because she fucked up outside of it.


"Et in Arcadio ego..."

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#3 | Back to Top03-06-2015 01:39:28 AM

Yams
Eternal Eschatologist
From: Crystal Millenium
Registered: 02-13-2007
Posts: 941

Re: Should we enjoy works created by the morally unsound?

Honestly, if we ignored any work of art wherein the creator had some kind of issues/ problems/ was a general weirdo our library of good stuff would be decimated.


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#4 | Back to Top03-06-2015 09:35:02 AM

zeedikay
Sunlit Gardener (Prelude)
Registered: 02-22-2014
Posts: 161

Re: Should we enjoy works created by the morally unsound?

YamPuff wrote:

Honestly, if we ignored any work of art wherein the creator had some kind of issues/ problems/ was a general weirdo our library of good stuff would be decimated.

I think that's why the "Death of the Author" became such a supported literary theory. (I.E. the author's beliefs and experiences hold less weight in interpretation than the audience's.) It gives some people the satisfaction that "Yes, I am not like this horrible person, and that this work is not truly representative of them" and allows for broader analysis.
Though I'm probably more in the Intentional Fallacy camp, maybe...

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#5 | Back to Top03-06-2015 01:36:27 PM

Atropos
Atropos Turretslayer
From: Far beyond eternity
Registered: 10-22-2011
Posts: 896

Re: Should we enjoy works created by the morally unsound?

Kita-Ysabell wrote:

Plenty of other authors have done and said plenty of sketchy or downright awful things, but that isn't the first thing everyone thinks of when their work comes up.

(I'm addressing this one first, anachronistically, because it's the only one addressed at YOU, rather than at your points. The rest is an explication of why I hold the opinion I do.)
For me, it is. I didn't mean that it has to be for you, or that you're a bad person for reading MZB. But if you're a person like me, who can't see past those facts, I thought it was only fair you should know.

Personally, I'm of the camp that… the idea that we have some sort of progressive "culture heroes" and hold them to a higher standard of behavior than everyone else is ridiculous.

Are you saying you think it's considered okay for people like you and me to finger our children or raise them in a household with a known child molester? The outrage isn't that she's famous and did this, it's that she did this and died famous and successful in spite of that.

By all means, condemn the behavior.  Be cautious about the representation of children's sexuality or lack thereof in her work.

"In her work"? For all the skeevy stuff Piers Anthony writes about, he's never hurt an actual child. This isn't about her work, it's about her failures as a human being.

But I don't think it helps anything to bury her work entirely because she fucked up outside of it.

"Fucked up"? She didn't molest anyone by mistake, and it doesn't help anything to refer to it like she did.


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#6 | Back to Top03-06-2015 01:54:33 PM

Nocturnalux
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From: Portugal
Registered: 09-10-2007
Posts: 741

Re: Should we enjoy works created by the morally unsound?

I agree with Kita Ysabell on this. It might be because I'm an English major, were I to hold authors to a high standard of morality I would it impossible to even manage most of the required reading. And when one is into older literature the issue becomes an even more pressing one. Take Byron, for example. Apart from the incest with his half-sister he reportedly let an infant child of his starve to death because he simply could not be bothered. Granted, it's an infamous example but there are many others. Hell, the canonical epic poem from my country is full of racism against virtually all non-Portuguese peoples that we encoured during the Expansion and oddly enough still has a more humane vision of 'others' than virtually all contemporaneous literature.
But I can perfectly understand that others might feel less than happy about reading authors who are frankly horrible people, particularly when it comes to including them in one's personal library.

I have picked up The Golden Bowl again, Henry James's final finished novel. I nearly finished at one point but the book disappeared only to resurface recently so I am rereading it. It is a very Henry James work with very dense prose, occasionally bordering on clunky, the dialogue is weirdly opaque and highly ambiguous so much so that it led me to believe that the characters are actually speaking through telepathy at the same time. That is how they can read a million deep meanings into 'Oh, quite'.
Perhaps because I am now more familiar with his very peculiar style and already know what to expect I can see James's rare but very fine humor. Thus far it had always eluded me completely.
I still want to know who killed Miles.

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#7 | Back to Top03-06-2015 11:52:11 PM

Yasha
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From: Edmonton, AB, Canada
Registered: 10-15-2006
Posts: 5955
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Re: Should we enjoy works created by the morally unsound?

This deserves its own thread rather than being stuck in the book rec thread.

My brother and I had this discussion about Roman Polanski, and of course there's also Woody Allen to consider... Is it right to watch their films? The two of them have done some terrible things. Is that reflected in their work? Does their work espouse those beliefs? To be honest, I'm on firmer ground with MZB, as I've read many of her books and I haven't seen most of Allen or Polanski's films. There seems to be a general agreement that these people have enriched the world somehow by their works. Is that true? Would we be missing something if those works had never been created? What impact does their criminal act(s) have on their work?

My personal opinion is that you have to be pretty fucked up to have the drive to be famous, and that makes you more likely to be a criminal or engage in criminal activity. That doesn't excuse what these people have done, of course-- I think they should face the consequences of their crimes. But I don't think they should be punished any more harshly than a regular non-famous citizen, and I don't think we should avoid their works. If I found out that the guy who built my house was a child molester, I wouldn't move out; I'd just do whatever I could to make sure he faced the consequences of his act.

I think mindfulness is the answer here. Deciding not to read or watch their works doesn't really do anything to or for them, it only cuts us off from another avenue of thought and another's view of the world. That's valuable and important to me; learning the shape of the world and the differences of the people in it is one of my highest goals. The works themselves may or may not express views that are congruent with their criminal acts-- MZB in particular has some pretty fucked up sex going on in her works. But being mindful of her child molestation while reading her works helps you to understand a person you'll never be and a worldview you'll never have, and gives you insight into why things like molestation happen and the sort of person who does it. It's another tool to use in trying to understand how the world works, and that can be used to combat the problem.

As for the monetary support, I don't think it has much impact to refuse to buy their works... but I don't buy them anyway. I support my local library in cases like this.

Summing up, I guess my stance is that they should face the legal repercussions of their crimes like any other citizen would, but I don't believe their art is tainted by their crimes. I believe it's important to look at and understand people like this so that we can prevent their crimes or deal with the fallout better, and their works may help us to do that. Even if they don't, they broaden our viewpoints and that's valuable when trying to understand the world.


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#8 | Back to Top03-07-2015 12:11:46 AM

Decrescent Daytripper
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Registered: 04-09-2007
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Re: Should we enjoy works created by the morally unsound?

My thing is: Don't play like the strength of the work makes their crimes or unsound behavior acceptable or forgivable. You can't buy your way out of being guilty of rape or being a neo nazi by writing like a motherfucker or singing real good. Enjoy what you're going to enjoy, but if you can't be critical of what and who you enjoy, at least do the world a favor and shut up.

There are some wonderfully talented artists out there who've banged teenagers or spend half a decade burning everyone around them while on smack. There's a repeat child rapist who makes entertaining movies but can't help, it seems, but sexualize some young boys in each one, and I'll admit outright, if he wasn't a rapist, it might not faze me much. But, I'll give Sean Penn a break, because he cops to a lot of his crap, even if Mickey Rourke had a great run threatened to tape every homophobic thing Penn said in a month, while he was sweeping up awards for Milk and stuff. It's virtually impossible to avoid Al Kooper or Jack Nitzsche, because those guys had a hand in everything for awhile. It's easier for me to avoid Terry Goodkind or the latest milking of Harry Potter, because it was never going to be my thing in the first place, but even though Ben Stein was a douche way before I ever met him, it kills me that he was polite, stand up, reasonable with me, and then high pressure hitting on undergrad girls at the same time.

There are levels, but they aren't one-measure-fits-all.

I'm not very forgiving of "well, they're not trying to be a role model," because fuck it, it's not about role model, it's about being a decent human being, and you shouldn't have a pass on that. For me, that goes for material in the entertainment, it goes for behavior as a professional, and for behavior as a human being. It's incredibly immature, to me, to love someone or someone's work so much you can't brook any criticism at all. And, if you're the talent, and you screw up, cop to it, adjust or make amends or something; don't just ride it out or get stupidly defensive.


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#9 | Back to Top03-09-2015 01:39:46 AM

yusaku
String Theorist
From: Kansas City
Registered: 03-09-2014
Posts: 178

Re: Should we enjoy works created by the morally unsound?

It is my opinion that it is best to limit your exposure to the works of the morally unsound. I find that my mind has a tendency to create dreams, nightmares, and fantasies that are along the lines of what I what I watch for entertainment. I find that my logic is even affected by some of what I watch. Sometimes I wonder where do some these ridiculous ideas I get sometime. Then I reflect what I have been watching, reading, and listening to and I realize where my ideas originate.

I have a strong desire to be entertained. Particularly when I have a stressful day. Something profane, mean, stupid, and silly takes my mind relax. Sometimes I find it helpful to have that grim, perverse, and mean sense of humor useful. I work with the public and to deal with dregs of society it helps to learn to laugh at a bad situation. Sometimes it helps to have an aspirin to deal the pain.

Concerning morally unsound artist I do believe in judging the art apart from the artist in situations when the artist is not putting his views into their art.   I like Michael Jackson songs and his music does not reflect his juvenile nature in his music. George Micheal old love songs to women does not have homosexual overtones. Artists are wise and gives the fans what they want not what the artist wants us to have. Art is very much a commodity in most cases. A commodity like chairs, tables, and cars. We should look at the art as a standalone product first.  If the art as a commodity is what we like, we should go ahead and enjoy it.

Now there are some works that clearly shows the morally unsoundness of the artist and are poison to moral thought. I have seen SMALL part of "Salo" or "120 days of Sodom"  the work originated from the writings of  Marqui De Sade.  I have seen Gasper Noe's films "I Stand Alone" and "Irreversible". I honestly wish I had not seen these very dark and disturbing films. There are some entertainment out there that is best to AVOID. Some things are just best  to be avoid because  the artist is a really sick  individual. I am quite certain I will be not reading Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf".

Some works of art can poison the mind and soul through artful logic.

Last edited by yusaku (03-09-2015 01:42:31 AM)


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#10 | Back to Top03-09-2015 02:27:28 AM

Decrescent Daytripper
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Registered: 04-09-2007
Posts: 2776

Re: Should we enjoy works created by the morally unsound?

I find Sade to be frequently morally edifying. "Your bosses will screw you over hard, and the law probably says they can." And, Justine and her sister are, at the very least, an interesting examination of grabbing your piece of the pie or waiting humbly for it at a greedy table. Philosophy in the Bedroom is pretty funny.

Irreversible was crap, I don't know much about the director. Judging the movie on its own, I'd assume the director wanted it's "harshness" to make an ethical point, though, regardless of how ham-handed and nihilistic that point may be. Didn't somebody kick him in the balls after a showing?

Nothing with Michael Jackson ever came out in court, or in public, so I'll refrain from judgment there (I'm biased as a fan, anyway), but surely homosexual overtones wouldn't be the morally unsound bit of George Michael, yeah? At least, no more immoral than any perceived heterosexual overtones.

That's probably a big hitch in the whole thing, though, ain't it? Do you judge folks based on your moral standing, on the era, the culture, their status, or by some arbitrary tertiary source?


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#11 | Back to Top03-09-2015 09:14:05 AM

ShatteredMirror
Yaoi Pet #1
From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: 10-22-2006
Posts: 8858

Re: Should we enjoy works created by the morally unsound?

Decrescent Daytripper wrote:

That's probably a big hitch in the whole thing, though, ain't it? Do you judge folks based on your moral standing, on the era, the culture, their status, or by some arbitrary tertiary source?

I think this is an important question. The answer isn't clear, but I think it's one of those "all of the above, at least sort of" answers.

I quite like Wagner's music. I find him an interesting example because the negative association with his music is partially his own beliefs and partially the beliefs of other people who liked his music. Wagner was definitely anti-Semitic, but I'm not convinced he was more anti-Semitic than his contemporaries (judging by his culture and era). In modern memory his work is strongly associated with the Nazis, but that raises yet another question of, should we avoid works that have terrible fans? Wagner was not, and couldn't have been, a Nazi. He died before Hitler was born.

I also like the work of Orson Scott Card. Or rather, I like Ender's Game. I received a copy as a gift from my maternal grandfather, who I didn't know very well, but the book spoke to me as a reasonably bright child like nothing I'd read at that point had. It wasn't until much later that I found out how awful Card was about gay people, but I can still enjoy the book because his attitude toward gay people doesn't really affect it that much. I actually judge Card more harshly than I might because his attitude toward gay people is actually worse than it used to be. In The Homecoming Saga (i.e. The Book of Mormon, In Space!), written in the early 90's, he's pretty clear that he thinks being gay is a disability that prevents people from having happy families, but gay people should be treated with respect and dignity because it's not their choice. Bad, but nowhere near as bad as his attitude in Hamlet's Father, where he's clear that he thinks being gay is a gross moral failure that turns people into child rapists, or possibly the result of being molested, or both.

Both are theoretically issues that affect me personally, but I find Wagner more abstract and Card more personal. Part of that is that Card is still alive, while I can write Wagner off in my mind as a product of another era. But part of it is that while I like both artists' work, it was Ender's Game that got me through being in a school that cancelled the gifted program because not all of the kids were smart enough to get in.


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#12 | Back to Top03-09-2015 03:56:14 PM

Nocturnalux
Qualified Duellist
From: Portugal
Registered: 09-10-2007
Posts: 741

Re: Should we enjoy works created by the morally unsound?

I too quite enjoy Wagner's music although I do not even remotely subscribe to his insanity.

Another thing is, at times one simply does not know much about the creators themselves. Should I devote myself to studying the background of every single artist/writer/author etc whose works I happen to enjoy? While it might be fun as a project it seems like something of a chore if it becomes a duty or a test of sorts.

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#13 | Back to Top03-10-2015 04:34:03 AM

Yams
Eternal Eschatologist
From: Crystal Millenium
Registered: 02-13-2007
Posts: 941

Re: Should we enjoy works created by the morally unsound?

The thing is: WHO gets to decide what's 'morally unsound'?

It differs from culture to culture and age to age. Do we draw the line at deceit, theft, rape, pedophilia, murder? I think restricting ourselves to only reading/watching/enjoying 'non-triggering' stuff by 'safe' people is an excellent way to stifle creativity, out-of-the-box thinking, empathy and meta-cognition.


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#14 | Back to Top03-10-2015 09:03:02 AM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10327
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Re: Should we enjoy works created by the morally unsound?

I've got what might be an overly simplistic answer to this complicated question.  I believe that the answer to any question that begins "Should we enjoy . . ." is, "Sure, if you enjoy it."  Having a feeling is not wrong.  The way we act on that feeling might be wrong.  There are times when we're morally obliged not to do something even if we really want to.  But the mere fact of wanting to do something awful is not the sin. 

And we know this.  We're judging the artists we've mentioned in this thread by what they've done, not by what may have been in their heads.  The question is not whether Michael Jackson had an unhealthy fixation on children; the question is whether he ever mistreated a child.  We should judge our own taste in art by the same standard.  Did you like Ender's Game?  Great!  Do you condone raving homophobia?  Not great!

Of course, there's no homophobia (that I can remember) in Ender's Game, but I'd apply the same reasoning to books that actually do promote the author's repugnant beliefs.  The book comes in for a lot of well-deserved shit, but there actually are things to like about Atlas Shrugged.

Ayn Rand wrote:

People think that a liar gains a victory over his victim.  What I've learned is that a lie is an act of self-abdication, because one surrenders one's reality to the person to whom one lies, making that person one's master, condemning oneself from then on to faking the sort of reality that person’s view requires to be faked.

I mean, come on, that is beautifully put.  A civil rights advocate could have said that.  As for the book more broadly, I can imagine enjoying it in, actually, kind of the same way one enjoys Ender's Game, as a self-insert Mary Sue novel where you imagine that you, like the protagonist, are better than literally everyone else in the world.  It's escapism, but there's nothing wrong with escapism.  If you start believing and acting like you are better than literally everyone else in the world, that's where the problem begins.

yusaku wrote:

It is my opinion that it is best to limit your exposure to the works of the morally unsound. I find that my mind has a tendency to create dreams, nightmares, and fantasies that are along the lines of what I what I watch for entertainment. I find that my logic is even affected by some of what I watch. Sometimes I wonder where do some these ridiculous ideas I get sometime. Then I reflect what I have been watching, reading, and listening to and I realize where my ideas originate.

There is no question that we are influenced by media.  But I think that fearing media because of how it might influence us involves a weird mistrust of ourselves.  I haven't read Mein Kampf, but I would.  I believe that -- as long as I keep checking my beliefs and actions against my ideals for myself -- Mein Kampf can't hurt me.  And it might help me understand why Hitler believed what he believed, which might help me to sympathize with and then change the minds of people who still believe what Hitler believed.  Sympathy, even for the devil, only ever expands our humanity.  The more we live in self-constructed echo chambers, the less opportunity we have to listen to people who disagree with us, and therefore the easier it is to lose sight of their humanness, which is equal to ours.  I think we can and should do better than that.  And if we happen to enjoy a book we didn't expect to enjoy along the way, hey, icing on the cake!

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#15 | Back to Top03-10-2015 09:10:42 AM

ShatteredMirror
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From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: 10-22-2006
Posts: 8858

Re: Should we enjoy works created by the morally unsound?

That's similar to the question Daytripper posed, YamPuff, and I think it's a good one.

Do we judge artists by the standards of their society, or by ours?

Is it different if the artist is dead now?

I don't buy Orson Scott Card's books because he's still alive, and tithing to the LDS church, and they do a whole lot of bad shit (they fucking bankrolled Prop 8 here in CA just a few years ago). So if I buy a Card book, I'm indirectly funding legislation to restrict lots of people's rights. Not gonna happen. But once he dies, I'll look where the money goes. Maybe I'll start buying them again.

Compare, say, HP Lovecraft. Horrible horrible racist. If he were alive and donating his money to the KKK or some similar organization, I wouldn't even consider buying his books. But he's dead, and to my knowledge his estate doesn't donate to any organizations I find objectionable. That being said, some of his stories are really racist, to the point that I just can't enjoy the story anymore. Some of them, not as blatant.

TL;DR where the money goes from my purchase is important to me, regardless of how much I enjoy the material

Last edited by ShatteredMirror (03-10-2015 11:35:33 AM)


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#16 | Back to Top03-11-2015 06:02:37 PM

Nocturnalux
Qualified Duellist
From: Portugal
Registered: 09-10-2007
Posts: 741

Re: Should we enjoy works created by the morally unsound?

satyreyes wrote:

The book comes in for a lot of well-deserved shit, but there actually are things to like about Atlas Shrugged.

Ayn Rand wrote:

People think that a liar gains a victory over his victim.  What I've learned is that a lie is an act of self-abdication, because one surrenders one's reality to the person to whom one lies, making that person one's master, condemning oneself from then on to faking the sort of reality that person’s view requires to be faked.

I mean, come on, that is beautifully put.  A civil rights advocate could have said that.  As for the book more broadly, I can imagine enjoying it in, actually, kind of the same way one enjoys Ender's Game, as a self-insert Mary Sue novel where you imagine that you, like the protagonist, are better than literally everyone else in the world.  It's escapism, but there's nothing wrong with escapism.  If you start believing and acting like you are better than literally everyone else in the world, that's where the problem begins.

Ayn Rand's case is particularly relevant in a discussion like this, not only was her ideology more than a bit iffy as she lavished praises on a known child killer for his being such a hero who has no concern for the majority's mores. To reiterate my position, I personally see no reason not to read her on such a basis but it is a sad fact that Rand apologists do not take her with a grain of salt but literally accept every single of her statements as absolutely true. So I agree with you, as long as one has a critical attitude then there is no problem, it all begins to derail once one takes anyone's word as a creed.

I too managed to enjoy AS, I read it as a Marvel comic book except without pictures and with shoddy heroes. It also offers some unintentional humor, try to deliver some of the lines from the book without laughing, I dare you. school-devil Especially the speech, dear god, the speech. I also like to think that Hank dug all his mines using his supremely square chin.
Above all, though, I loved AS for the homoerotic tension that I am sure was absolutely not intentional and is all the more interesting for that. Hank and Francisco discussing the essence of sex and what it means, alone in a suite in the middle of the night...I don't even.

Last edited by Nocturnalux (03-11-2015 06:04:08 PM)

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#17 | Back to Top03-11-2015 07:44:15 PM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10327
Website

Re: Should we enjoy works created by the morally unsound?

nocturnalux wrote:

I too managed to enjoy AS, I read it as a Marvel comic book except without pictures and with shoddy heroes. It also offers some unintentional humor, try to deliver some of the lines from the book without laughing, I dare you. school-devil Especially the speech, dear god, the speech. I also like to think that Hank dug all his mines using his supremely square chin.
Above all, though, I loved AS for the homoerotic tension that I am sure was absolutely not intentional and is all the more interesting for that. Hank and Francisco discussing the essence of sex and what it means, alone in a suite in the middle of the night...I don't even.

I'm glad I'm not the only one able to derive a little properly critical pleasure from that book. emot-smile  I wonder how unintentional that homoerotic tension is.  Probably unintentional - but her heterosexual romances are so forced that one wonders if that's really where her attention was.  Fairly or not, I usually err on the side of assuming that subtext exists when two male characters interact in a female-written anime fanfic; why shouldn't I assume the same about capitalism fanfic? emot-wink  I mean, one of the characters in Atlas Shrugged is literally a pirate.

You're right, of course, that too many people (i.e. more than zero) receive Atlas Shrugged uncritically.  If anything, I think that makes it more important that at least a few sane people read it and understand why it's appealing.  How else are we going to know how to school its adherents?

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#18 | Back to Top03-11-2015 08:11:45 PM

Nocturnalux
Qualified Duellist
From: Portugal
Registered: 09-10-2007
Posts: 741

Re: Should we enjoy works created by the morally unsound?

Rand stated that homosexuality was immoral which is why I find the homoerotic vibes in AS even more interesting than they would otherwise be. And I completely agree, her het romance is horribly forced. Few times (or ever) have I ever seen a love triangle (Dagny/Francisco/Hank) by adding a fourth angle (John Galt) at literally the last moment and have him 'win' without anyone else at all being bothered. Which is why the Francisco/Hank relationship almost slashes itself. I almost feel like writing fanfic with the two because I can. And this is an important point, that a reader can manipulate the material as they see fit, something that I am sure would drive Rand absolutely mad with fury.

Ah yes, Dagnar the Nordic pirate. If there ever was a wish fulfillment character then he is one.

I find Rand more amusing than most perhaps because her ideas have zero traction in my country to the point you'd be hard pressed to even find someone who has heard about her. So I never had to deal with Randroids in real life.

And with someone like Rand who identified herself completely with her work one almost has to take a step back in order to at all appreciate her novels. Some of the descriptions are particularly sharp especially when they pertain to industries or trains.

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#19 | Back to Top03-12-2015 03:02:43 AM

yusaku
String Theorist
From: Kansas City
Registered: 03-09-2014
Posts: 178

Re: Should we enjoy works created by the morally unsound?

Decrescent Daytripper wrote:

I find Sade to be frequently morally edifying. "Your bosses will screw you over hard, and the law probably says they can." And, Justine and her sister are, at the very least, an interesting examination of grabbing your piece of the pie or waiting humbly for it at a greedy table. Philosophy in the Bedroom is pretty funny.

Irreversible was crap, I don't know much about the director. Judging the movie on its own, I'd assume the director wanted it's "harshness" to make an ethical point, though, regardless of how ham-handed and nihilistic that point may be. Didn't somebody kick him in the balls after a showing?

Nothing with Michael Jackson ever came out in court, or in public, so I'll refrain from judgment there (I'm biased as a fan, anyway), but surely homosexual overtones wouldn't be the morally unsound bit of George Michael, yeah? At least, no more immoral than any perceived heterosexual overtones.

That's probably a big hitch in the whole thing, though, ain't it? Do you judge folks based on your moral standing, on the era, the culture, their status, or by some arbitrary tertiary source?

I find Sade to be sexually liberating when Sade is focused on mutually gratifying and consensual sex. Yet, the movie "Salo" was the opposite. The Plot is a group of Nazi and Italian fascist magistrates have the local police round up a group of local townspeople into a isolated mansion. There was nothing consensual about the plot situation. I am sure you can guess the rest. Sade really gets mean and nasty in that film. I think I saw five minutes and turned it off.

My point about Micheal Jackson and  George Micheal was that they created works that their fanbase wanted and denied putting essential parts of their identity into their music.


That's probably a big hitch in the whole thing, though, ain't it? Do you judge folks based on your moral standing, on the era, the culture, their status, or by some arbitrary tertiary source?

I would say all of the above. I am kind to everyone except rude people. Yet what I believe to good morals, what the general society deems taboo, what is tradition, and where a person is financially, and the what is the Law all factors in my opinion of a person. I do not fraternize with the guys at work that my boss wants to fire. I like being employed.  I do not befriend known criminals because the police will add you to a file and you get treated like your are a criminal also. The police in the US have "J" codes to codify criminals and thier associates. In other words,  hang with the bad crowd and you are guilty by association.
I have a couple of homeless guys I always talk to when I see them. Yet, I NEVER had them over my house! I do not understand how they find livin g on the street acceptable year after year. I like time-honored traditions that have predictable and documented outcomes. People who are against these traditions I limit or eliminate my interactions with them.

Last edited by yusaku (03-12-2015 03:05:23 AM)


***The world is one large Rose Academy!!!***

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#20 | Back to Top03-12-2015 10:42:14 AM

Yams
Eternal Eschatologist
From: Crystal Millenium
Registered: 02-13-2007
Posts: 941

Re: Should we enjoy works created by the morally unsound?

ShatteredMirror wrote:

TL;DR where the money goes from my purchase is important to me, regardless of how much I enjoy the material

^ This I definitely agree with. I care about where my money goes. However, if it's me checking a book out of the library or getting a public-domain classic, then it truly doesn't bother me what the author got up to.


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#21 | Back to Top03-12-2015 10:59:13 AM

yusaku
String Theorist
From: Kansas City
Registered: 03-09-2014
Posts: 178

Re: Should we enjoy works created by the morally unsound?

satyreyes wrote:

yusaku wrote:

It is my opinion that it is best to limit your exposure to the works of the morally unsound. I find that my mind has a tendency to create dreams, nightmares, and fantasies that are along the lines of what I what I watch for entertainment. I find that my logic is even affected by some of what I watch. Sometimes I wonder where do some these ridiculous ideas I get sometime. Then I reflect what I have been watching, reading, and listening to and I realize where my ideas originate.

There is no question that we are influenced by media.  But I think that fearing media because of how it might influence us involves a weird mistrust of ourselves.  I haven't read Mein Kampf, but I would.  I believe that -- as long as I keep checking my beliefs and actions against my ideals for myself -- Mein Kampf can't hurt me.  And it might help me understand why Hitler believed what he believed, which might help me to sympathize with and then change the minds of people who still believe what Hitler believed.  Sympathy, even for the devil, only ever expands our humanity.  The more we live in self-constructed echo chambers, the less opportunity we have to listen to people who disagree with us, and therefore the easier it is to lose sight of their humanness, which is equal to ours.  I think we can and should do better than that.  And if we happen to enjoy a book we didn't expect to enjoy along the way, hey, icing on the cake!

Sat I would say I have an awareness of human frailty not a weird mistrust of myself. I believe the human body was wonderfully made and is capable of many things. Yet, it is that odd hunger we have for euphoria that can block out logic. I REALLY like good entertainment and I would rather be watching anime or scifi than most other things I like to do. The better the entertainment the more I get absorbed into it. I remember when I happened across Sword Art Online and Titan A.E last year I was watching three or four episode at a time. Don't not get me started about  when I was playing Guild Wars three years ago. I have been staying away from playing Skyrim because it may become my social life.

So, I have to set parameters, boundaries  to make sure productive things get done. I get my cello practice, cleaning, cooking, and reading done. Before I get the television or the Playstation running. I still surf the net, but I am getting better at managing my net surfing. I intend to get in the gym this year and get more fit and take some more community college classes. Yet, if I do not set some boundaries, I will spend all my free time watching anime, eating out, and playing online MMO's which are the activities I enjoy the most.


***The world is one large Rose Academy!!!***

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#22 | Back to Top03-13-2015 08:38:34 AM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10327
Website

Re: Should we enjoy works created by the morally unsound?

That sounds exactly like what I said. emot-smile  You are worried about binging on media, but the solution is not to avoid those media entirely, but to monitor how you use them and make sure you don't fall headlong into them without realizing it.  In the same way, if you're worried about the effects that the ideas in a book might have on you, you don't need to abjure the book; you just need to use it carefully.  Maybe that involves limiting how much of it you consume at a time, as you do with anime or video games.  Or maybe it just requires reading reflectively in a way that you might not do when you are enjoying a book without an agenda.  John Galt ≠ John Green.  I'm curious -- has there been a particular book that has made you wary of ethically dodgy literature?

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#23 | Back to Top05-24-2015 01:28:56 AM

Decrescent Daytripper
Best Disney Princess
Registered: 04-09-2007
Posts: 2776

Re: Should we enjoy works created by the morally unsound?

What do you all think about works that are intended as inoculation against dangerous or malignant ideas/feelings? Certain Grant Morrison comics, William Burroughs novels, Mary Harron movies, etc, have as an express purpose, inundating us with sudden, somewhat satiric jolts of unpleasantness to bolster our defenses about similar memes in other entertainment, culture, or the world at large. Is that functional? Is it just pretentious? Is it too likely to be misunderstood and taken straight, and thereby do the same damage is seeks to inoculate against?

Mike Diana tried it and got himself an obscenity conviction and one of the craziest sentences in American legal history.

(Also, why is "inoculate" spelled that way? Shouldn't there be a double-n or double-c? S'weird.)


My Brain is the Wakaba and Shiori Funtime Hour. With limited commercial interruption.

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#24 | Back to Top05-24-2015 08:42:49 AM

ShatteredMirror
Yaoi Pet #1
From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: 10-22-2006
Posts: 8858

Re: Should we enjoy works created by the morally unsound?

Decrescent Daytripper wrote:

Is it too likely to be misunderstood and taken straight, and thereby do the same damage is seeks to inoculate against?

Chu...

Putting out a piece of work with the specific intent of showing how bad a certain idea is will always have roadblocks thrown up to making it effective. If you don't put effort into creating a realistic portrayal of the idea you're trying to debunk, you're just setting up a strawman. But if you do create a realistic portrayal, there's a chance that at least some of your readers will find that position sympathetic. And even if you do a good job of showing both sides of the argument but still manage to successfully create a work that definitively sets up your position as the right one, there's no guarantee that you'll end up on the right side of history.

("inoculate" always sounded to me like it should be a double-n word, too)


Pride is not the opposite of shame, but its source.

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#25 | Back to Top05-24-2015 12:15:34 PM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10327
Website

Re: Should we enjoy works created by the morally unsound?

DD, if the answer to your question is "those works are undesirable," doesn't that exclude a whole lot of awesome and/or important literature from polite conversation?  Nineteen Eighty-Four?  Uncle Tom's Cabin?  Gulliver's Travels?  Little Women?  Candide?  His Dark Materials?  All World War I poetry?  Everything by Aristophanes?  The Lorax?

Personally, I'm not willing to get anywhere near a rule about good taste that would exclude any of the above.

("Inoculate" always sounded to me like it should be an injection into your eye.)

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